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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Answers

When will Dr. Christiano’s Research on Follicular Neogenesis (Hair Cloning) be Available?

Q: I read, with considerable interest, your excellent article on the latest in Dr. Angela Christiano’s work on follicular neogenesis. It seems to me that the next questions we should be asking are: when will testing begin on human subjects and when might her research develop into a hair cloning treatment that is available to the general public?

A: It is very difficult to determine when this phase of the research might begin and it is even harder to predict when treatment might become available. First, the technology is not quite there. Dr. Christiano showed in her recent paper that changing the environment of skin (fibroblast) cells so that they could form into 3-D cultures enabled them to induce human hair-follicle growth. Although this was a major step towards cloning hair, additional work needs to be done before we will be able to mass produce fully-functioning human hair follicles to the extent needed for hair transplantation.

In addition, research on human subjects requires that experiments meet rigorous federal regulatory standards and these take time to be approved and carried out. Supposing that further study of follicle neogenesis results in a breakthrough treatment for hair loss, this treatment would still require meeting substantial efficacy and safety requirements of the FDA before it would be made available to the public. We will be communicating important developments as they occur through our Hair Cloning Research section and through periodic updates in the Bernstein Medical Newsletter.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why is Cell Differentiation the Major Obstacle for Hair Cloning?

Q: What is the major obstacle to hair cloning?

A: Although many problems remain, the main one is to keep cloned cells differentiated (the ability to perform a specialized function, like producing a hair). There are certain cells in the skin, called fibroblasts, which reside around the base of the hair follicle. These cells are readily multiplied in a Petri dish. When these cells are injected into the skin, they have the ability to induce a hair to form (they are differentiated). The problem is that when these cells are multiplied in culture, they tend to lose this ability (they become undifferentiated).

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Hair Restoration Research

Skin Cells Substitute for Embryonic Stem Cells in Cloning Research

The advantage of using embryonic stem cells in cloning research, organ transplantation, and in finding cures for disease, is that these cells are basically “unprogrammed.” This means that the stem cell has not yet determined what it will grow to become so, in theory at least, scientists can manipulate them into becoming anything that they are programmed to be.

Two teams of scientists working independently announced that they had successfully replicated the biological abilities of the embryonic stem cell using only skin cells.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Does Hair Cloning Grow Hair Follicles from Cultured Cells?

Q: Considering cell cultivation is made possible how could their injection create a normal formation of hair on the scalp and can they induce hair growth also in scarred areas where previously hair stopped growing?

A: That is the question. It is not known if these induced follicles will resemble normal hairs, and be cosmetically acceptable on their own, or if they will grow unruly and must be used as a filler behind more aesthetically pleasing transplanted hair.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Are Hair Cloning, Hair Multiplication, and Follicular Neogeneis Different?

Q: What is the difference between hair cloning, hair multiplication, and follicular neogeneis? I have read about these terms on the internet and am completely confused.

A: Cloning generally refers to the multiplication of fetal stem cells or embryonic tissues. “Hair cloning”, as the term is generally used, involves the multiplication of adult tissue cells that are used to induce the formation of new hair, so the term is not exactly accurate.

“Hair multiplication” refers to the multiplication of adult hair structures. This model is not actively being pursued since the hair follicle is too complex to be simply cultured in a tube. Instead individual cells called fibroblasts are removed from the scalp multiplied in tissue culture and then these are injected back into the scalp in the hope that they will induce intact follicles to form.

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Hair Restoration Research

Summary: Hope Grows For Bald Baby Boomers

An English based company called Intercytex has claimed some success in its research on hair cloning with its first testing in humans. This technique is similar to the one initially proposed by Dr. Colin Jahoda and published in 1999.

The idea is that certain cells (called fibroblasts) found at the bottom of hair follicles can be separated from the follicles after they have been removed from the scalp, and then be used to form new follicles.

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